Caution Needed with Holiday Treats
Sugar Plums. Sugar Cookies. Sugar and Spice. Even Sugar Daddies! There are so many holiday traditions involving that sweet, sparkling ingredient… but unfortunately it’s an ingredient that can be dangerous for those with diabetes. Most diabetic patients are cautious of their sugar intake throughout the year; but when it comes to the holidays, people tend to forget (or ignore) everything they know about managing their diabetes!
Understanding the Sugar (Glucose)/Insulin Balance
Sugar is processed in the body in the form of glucose to provide energy for your daily and future needs. It is your body’s job to produce/insulin to process the sugar that is consumed from sweets, breads and other foods that are high in carbohydrates.
It is when individuals are unable to fully process the sugars in their bodies, that they are diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Possible reasons for the inability to process the sugar includes:
- not producing insulin
- not producing enough insulin
- unable to use the insulin that is produced
Blood Sugar is All About the Numbers
Diabetes is often measured in the blood this is where insulin breaks down glucose. If the ratio of glucose to insulin is abnormally high, hyperglycemia results. Hyperglycemia is simply defined as an elevate blood sugar. Similarly, hypoglycemia is defined as a low blood sugar. Blood sugars differ during the day because our bodies produce insulin in response to food that is eaten. Many people are required to check their blood sugars several times a day at home. A normal fasting blood sugar is between 70-100mg/dL.
Monitoring Your Blood Sugars During the Holidays is Essential to Staying in Control
If your doctor has you checking your blood sugar at home, it is especially important to keep track of the foods you eat during the holidays. This is when many people – diabetics and non-diabetics alike struggle controlling the amount of food we eat, especially sugar-filled foods like cookies, fudge, pies, and other traditional holiday snacks. Many diabetic patients have guidelines to direct them on how much insulin or diabetic medication they take based on their blood sugar levels so you should expect to need more “help” if you are consuming more sugar.
Diabetes and the At Risk Foot
Individuals with diabetes are more susceptible to serious foot problems due to nerve damage, vascular damage or both. If you are a diabetic, your feet can be considered "at risk”.
Over time, elevated blood sugar damages the nerves to the feet causing peripheral neuropathy which creates numbness, tingling and even pain. Increased numbness and pain in the feet is a sign that your blood sugars may be elevated!
When someone has peripheral neuropathy, he or she may not feel a blister or wound forming. One might not even feel the puncture from a sharp object on the bottom of the foot. Seemingly minor injuries can cause an opening in the skin that can become a serious health risk. Advanced neuropathy may lead to severe bone and joint foot injuries... without any pain at all!
If you are a diabetic, you should be seeing a podiatrist on a regular basis for evaluation and maintenance and ANY time there is a change in your feet!
Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice
While visions of sugar plums may be dancing in your head, be sure to stay on track of your blood glucose levels as you celebrate the holidays. At InStride Family Foot Care, we specialize in the podiatric care of those with diabetes and will evaluate your symptoms and make sure your feet stay healthy!